by Otep Shamaya
Disclaimer: The story you are about to read is based on actual events. Names have been changed to protect the guilty. This is pure Gonzo-deSade – if you are easily offended by adult language, sexual situations, drug fiends, homophobia, or salacious behavior – move on. This is not for you.
I woke up in my pajamas curled on the couch like a rehab patient.
It felt like an iron balloon was inflating inside my skull. My stomach pinched and turned in nauseating waves that crested between the rolling thunder of sadness and paranoia.
So many questions.
“Why was my mobile phone in the fish tank? Did I drunk dial my mother again? Did things get ‘out of hand’ while sexting with an ex? Could that explain all these empty lube and Tabasco bottles in the bathtub? But why did I microwave pudding? Or Photoshop Hitler mustaches on pictures of Taylor Swift and email them to The Vatican? Just for kicks? Or was there some deeper psychological root to all this mania? How twisted was I? Maybe I should go to the hospital, poste haste, call the paramedics, seek help now —”
Holy Krishna! Get it together, lass. This is just the drifting haze of the aftermath. Ride it out. Eat some carbs. You’ll be back to super-hero status lickety-split.
Indeed. It seems all it takes to uncover this kind of spastic emotional hysteria is 3 bottles of Bordeaux, 6 cups of coffee, 5 shots of tequila, a hash brownie, 2 tabs of xanax, and a devastating break-up.
Yes, I’ve recently lost the love of my life due to a rather silly but irreversible skirmish on the number of accessories I should’ve added to my iPeen (see previous blog – and please, stop sending me hate-mail. I am keeping my elegant vagina. Reset and move on).
Now, my head knows the dangers of committing spiritual archeology under the heavy drapes of drugs & alcohol. But during deep dramatic distress my bohemian-heart pops like a blowfish calling the “fuck-it-all” devils to rise from the depths, seize the helm, and steer me directly into the eye of the crashing storm.
I wanted to drink and forget and awaken on the far shore depleted and sore from being raked over the jagged tiers and end up splayed across the frigid rocks like a melted clock in a Dali painting. So here I was, alone and shattered, hoping this sad-sickness would soon surrender itself out of me.
And then my landline rang.
It was Jonah – one of my dearest friends and co-conspirators. He is an excellent example of living a self-defined life. I’ve always believed him to be the spiritual lovechild of Abbie Hoffman and Freddy Mercury. Together, we are the best of the worst. True professional degenerates. Whenever he calls, beautiful trouble follows.
“Otep, baby,” he said, “drop the doom and gloom, pack a bag, and get cute. We’re going to Tijuana.”
“What the fuck are we gonna do down there?” I asked. “Get robbed?”
He said, “That’s enough of that, scholar. I know exactly what you need: fun, sun, and Mexican skydiving.”
“Jonah, I’m a mess today. I still miss her. I just….can’t. Another time, okay?”
Jonah shouted, “Hon, get it together. You called me at 4 this morning moaning about how ‘our side’ is losing the fight for Equal Rights, that your ex won’t return your calls, how lost you feel, and how quickly you were sinking into the sand! But the pity party ends right now! Okay?” His voice calmed, “Look babe, as your sponsor in debauchery, I won’t stand by and watch you become another soggy cliché! We are going to fucking Mexico, my friend!”
I wanted to hang up. I wanted to slip back beneath the blankets and drift deep into the calm waters of depression.
“I don’t think I have the emotional architecture for this level of adventure,” I said.
“No worries.” He said. “I’ve got the sure cure: ACID.”
“Are you serious?” I asked.
He was serious.
“Come on O, don’t say no. We need to do this. I got it all taken care of. Trust me. After this trip, you’re gonna be good as new!”
Normally, I would say no – LSD is not a drug I am partial too – but I was in serious emotional crisis and his enthusiasm was too much for me to resist. The “fuck-it-all” devils once again grabbed the controls and I surrendered.
Skydiving. On acid. I was impressed.
“Excellent form, sir. Let’s do it.”
“I knew you wouldn’t let me down,” he beamed. “We can trip on our trip and we’ll peak by the time we fly the friendly skies. If we leave now we can be there by 3 o’clock.”
“On the way we have to stop”, I said, “So I can get a burner phone. Can’t go on this journey unarmed.”
He laughed, “That’s the spirit! Make sure it takes video! Now, look out your window.”
He was parked in my driveway.
I got dressed, threw a bag together, and raced to the car. He dosed me as soon as I got in and we sped off for the border – music blaring, eyes wide, minds open.
By the time we passed through San Diego a strange crystalline network of glowing prisms, organic fractals, and rainbow webbing had emerged and devoured the peripherals. The passing landscape melted and split like a watercolor Rorschach. I found myself lost in the Escher angles of the Great Cosmic Grid. Everything was infinite and ever expanding. I realized we, the human species, were nothing but holograms projected over the octagonal gravitational planes.
I thought so.
Then the sun began to bleed and pulse like a colossal strobe light. The landscape darkened and drowned in inky petroleum and everything was choked in ash and fire. Then hundreds of hairy spiders, giant scorpions, and hagfish began falling from the sooty sky all around me.
My visions kept coming: I saw black Jesus riding a dragonfly, armor-plated grizzly bears ripping Sarah Palin to pieces, Jerry Falwell sucking off Mickey Mouse, and a sleeping winged land whale (whatever that is) laying soft white eggs on the scaly skin of some forgotten Sumerian God. It was incredible.
After an hour or so of this miserable nightmare, everything dissolved into a radiant storm of tiny embers. Everyone and everything looked to be made of fireflies. When we reached the border, the guard either didn’t notice or didn’t care about my incessant staring because he just waved us through.
We somehow found our hotel, checked in (without getting arrested), and then lit out for the airfield. Jonah’s timing was impeccable. 3:05 on the dot.
We met up with our instructors, had a 7-minute tutorial session, and then bam! We were up 13,000 feet and ready to vault into the stratosphere.
But then the drug turned on me.
I kept thinking that whatever I was doing to my mind could never be undone. And that all these people standing around me were conspiring to murder and butcher me and bury the pieces in the desert.
Not the thoughts one wants to have while racing 300 mph over the jagged Mexican terrain. And things were getting worse. I glanced at Jonah. He was laughing hysterically, which (of course) I perceived as evil incarnate.
Fear gripped my spine. Everything felt ominous. I suddenly realized that I was strapped to a portly little man named José – yes, my instructor. I think he said something like, “ARRRE YOOUU RREADY?” But before I could process the question, José stepped out of the plane and we tumbled into the atmosphere.
I remember falling. And thinking, “This must be how Icarus felt” and then I was jolted by someone shouting, “HOLY GOD WE’RE GONNA DIE!” It was José. What kind of demented jackass screams something like that while strapped to a noob with a head full of acid?
I closed my eyes. Terrible idea. I could see the inside of my skull.
José shouted again, “I’m just messing with ya!”
The treachery of the moment was too much for my senses to bear. I must have blacked out. I don’t remember landing. I don’t remember punching José. I don’t remember how we got back to the hotel. Or how I got under the bed. But when I woke the drug was long gone. Jonah had moved on to another – Molly. (And probably a little demon-speed)
He was shirtless wearing a man-thong, listening to his iPod, and dancing like an eel out of water. He spoke to me in a rapid, un
broken cadence only a few major-league drug cosmonauts could master:
“Otizzle!Good.You’re awake!You okay?Why did you punch that guy?They were gonna call the cops.Luckily, I brought petty cash.You owe me $150 American. Just kidding. You hungry? I ordered grilled cheese sandwiches and a fruit platter from room service.Have some melon.It’s good.I don’t want any right now but you go for it.See, I told you it was going to be fun. Go ahead have a peach.”
I was too grumpy for fruit. “What time is it?”
“It’s daytime.” He said. “On Sunday. Come on, get up. Let the healing begin. I’ve got something really special lined up for tonight.”
“Dog races?” I asked.
“Even better.” He said. “Chop chop!”
Before we proceed I should give you a little more info on Jonah. He’s a self-loathing TV producer who uses his absurd wealth to make up for the fact that he’s a self-loathing TV producer. He’s also the kind of beautiful lunatic who will persuade me to go skydiving on acid without telling me our trip also includes a dinner with leaders of the ultra-conservative group “Marriage is Holy”.
Beautiful. Lunatic. He explained to me that we were meeting with a couple of couples for dinner and that I should dress for a night out. Okay. And off we went.
We arrived at the restaurant and were met shortly after by a stately couple. The husband, Reed, was a major stockholder in a Conservative cable news network, and his wife, Cassandra, was a bulimic aristocrat with a bad pill habit.
The second couple arrived a few minutes later. They were bitching about the cab driver and accusing the “sand-monkey” of taking the long way so he could plump the meter.
The husband, Pervis, was a Baptist Minister specializing in gay exorcisms and supervised the nefarious “HOMO NO-MO” clinic. His wife, Eustace, was Republican royalty – her father was a famous segregationist. She was also a major stockholder in a fastfood chicken joint notorious for its anti-gay proclivities.
I chose not to reveal my political leanings or my loud & proud outlaw rock-poet heresy. I didn’t have the energy or interest to intellectually pummel these volcanic-enema-men or their blue-blood brides. Silence was the key to my stability. And theirs.
Between breaths, and stuffing their craws with food and booze, these pontificating scab-bags railed on and on against the evils of the Internet, atheists, feminists, and fags.
Pervis barked, “Can you believe what these sodomites are trying to do now?” Bits of food spit from his lips. “Mark my words, destroying the sanctity of marriage is the goal of the secret homosexual agenda!”
Eunice mumbled, “Filthy Fags”, but Pervis tapped her hand like one might a dog on its nose, “Not while the men are speaking, honey.”
I was just about to go bonkers on Johah (I mean, what the fuck were we doing here with these fecal sacks?) when Reed leaned over and asked him, “You bring the vitamins, boy?” I pretended not to hear. Jonah smiled and slid the bag of Molly to him. Reed grinned like a pig in shit. He popped one gel cap in his mouth and motioned to his wife. She tossed back a pill and passed the bottle to Pervis and Eustace. They, too, joined the party.
As the night went on, plates were cleared, dessert declined, bourbon poured, and Jonah doled out bumps of cocaine from a small grinder to everyone but me. I declined. Not my drug. Shortly after, we piled into Reed’s limo and headed out for their favorite local disco. Yeah …disco.
In the car, the women downed shots of Jack Daniels while Pervis and Reed crushed up Viagra and snorted it off the mini-bar.
I was ready to bail. I remembered my new phone and retrieved it from my bag. I needed a cheap flight back to L.A. – NOW.
Suddenly, Pastor Pervis barked, “Just what in the hell do we have here, huh?” He motioned to my bag. The contents had spilled out all over the limo seat: wallet, keys, hand sanitizer, pill bottle, eyeliner, mints, and …my iPeen.
Fuck. I forgot I brought it.
Before I could explain, he grabbed it by the shaft and the damned thing thundered to life – violently vibrating in a flash of bright, multicolored lights – he sputtered, “Whoa now, you’re not one of those, uh – holy Jesus – is this a weapon? Are you a member of the Lesbian Jihad?”
Jonah shoved another bump up Pastor Pervis’ flaring nostril and said, “Back off, buster. She’s one of us.” Pervis sucked back the powder, downed a shot of Jack and passed the iPeen to Eustace. She waved it around like a lightsaber.
Reed shouted to the driver, “Stop! We’re here! Alto! Alto!” and the limo screeched to a halt.
Eustace touched Jonah’s shoulder, “This is where we met you, remember Jonah?” He winked and blew her a kiss.
Cassandra leaned close to me and whispered, “Welcome to Gomorra. You can have anything and everything you want here.” She smiled and waddled from the car.
The “disco” was actually a private sex club for the wealthy elite. Reed and Pervis flashed their Platinum VIP cards and we were ushered in. The place was a dive. They paid for freedom and secrecy – not luxury.
The music was a deafening mix of techno-trash and German trance. The stench of cigarettes, meth pipes, cheap cologne, latex, old lube, and assorted bodily fluids was equally overwhelming.
This was definitely NOT my scene.
I tried to get Jonah’s attention but Cassandra suddenly dropped her skirt (and granny panties) and jumped on top of the bar. A crowd collapsed around her, staring wildly at her mature meat-curtains slapping and clapping to the rhythm of the music. I expected her husband to object, but Reed was busy making out with a black transvestite in the back of the club.
Pervis and Jonah plopped down at a booth and started slamming back Jaeger-bombs while Eustace gave a handjob to a Limbaugh look-a-like.
I commandeered an adjoining table to survey this insane circus from a safe setting. The waitress brought me a bottle of tequila infused with scorpion venom. Perfect. I wanted swift amnesia.
Reed sidled up next to me and said, “So sport, wanna play?” I punched him in the dick and he slid to the floor. I roared, “Game over. Fuck. Off.”
I slammed a shot, and was just about to suck back another when I saw Eustace and Cassandra making-out.
Hate devoured me.
Watching these two hypocritical hags eat each other’s face was too much for me to bear. I wanted to torch the place. I had to get out of there. Fast.
But first, I needed to give Jonah a piece of my mind. I jerked him by the collar and shouted, “What the fuck is wrong with you? You’re my friend! Why would you bring me here? This isn’t our scene! You know I’m hurting, Jonah! How is this supposed to help me? I am outta here! Don’t call me for like a week, asshole!”
Jonah laughed. “Cool out, Teez. I’m sorry. Okay? But I promise it’s worth it. Your new phone has video, right? Capture a memory.”
A devilish grin slid across his face. Indeed, the master plan.
I moved through the room secretly filming these human disasters like a true virtuoso – smooth zooms, perfect pans – passing over Jonah giving me a thumbs up while snorting lines off a hooker’s ass, over to Pastor Pervis sodomizing Reed who sucked off the Nubian He-she, to Cassandra fucking Eustace with the technological wonder that was my iPeen. (I left it there)
I filled up my phone with video and snuck out quietly. I commandeered Reed’s limo and ordered the driver to take me back to the sweet sanctuary of America.
I slept the whole way, trying to forget what I just experienced. It was just about noon when I arrived back at my apartment. My replacement phone had arrived. I set it up, then showered, downed a couple of xan (with a tequila chaser), and ate half a hash brownie. I slumped to the floor exhausted. My mobile buzzed. A text from my ex: “Babe! I’m at a Disco in Tijuana! SOOO drunk. Thought I saw Jonah. Wish u were here!!” I grabbed the tequila and collapsed on the couch.
I woke up the next morning.
I remembered the video! “I’m gonna fry those fuckers.”
I looked for my phone – shit, where was it?
My apartment was a mess: dried pudding, Hitler mustaches, lube and Tabasco bottles — Fuck. It can’t be.
I was curled on my couch like a rehab patient.
And my phone was in the fish tank.
Otep Shamaya is a 2010 GLAAD nominee, frontwoman
for rock group OTEP, a writer, activist, and reprobate who resides on the
jagged edge of Plasticland deep in the recesses of beautiful Los Angeles, CA.